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View Full Version : Is the extra time needed for airport security worth it?


DanT
06-04-2006, 07:14 PM
Here's an interesting analysis of the cost of the increased security at airports. Is it worth it to you to have to wait longer at airports for the extra security you get compared to the "old days"? Also, what do you think of the method of treating lost minutes of life as exchangeable? Personally, I don't consider minutes wasted by bureaucrats to be equivalent to minutes taken by murderers, but I can see the usefulness of some cost-benefits-analysis arguments that pretend they are.

http://www.mises.org/story/2186

Excerpt from TSA: Killing Us an Hour at a Time
by Tim Kern

...

The TSA has increased travel time, due to its delays. Some estimates are as high as two hours per flight. We hear the holiday-travel warnings: "Be at the airport at least two hours before your flight!" The TSA didn't cause all the extra waste, but we can assign a lot of that waste to the new system. To be kind to our ruling class, let's call it just one extra hour of wasted time per flight. What's an hour, compared to 9-11?

Let's do a little math.

There were 738 million enplanements (670 million domestic and 68 million international flights by US carriers) in the United States last year, and nearly 70% of those being leisure (voluntary, as opposed to business or bereavement) travel. If the TSA wastes just 1 hour per person per flight, that's 738 million hours. There are 8,766 hours in an average year (365 times 24, plus 6 for leap-year accrual). If a newborn is expected to live another 75 years, we may assume that an "average" airline passenger is 37.5 years old, and has 37.5 years left to live. We can also assume that a typical business traveler, being older than the average traveler, has 25 years left to live.

Turn the crank, and you can calculate the silent carnage.

Those 738 million hours lost are equivalent to the remaining lives of some 2,582 people! Each year, the TSA's one-hour delay, all by itself, kills the equivalent of over 80% of the 9-11 victims. Put another way, roughly every year and a half, the TSA "kills" more travelers than the four flights and all the ground victims of September 11, 2001.

Of course, you may disagree with my numbers. That's allowed; use your own. The argument is robust enough to withstand a lot of fiddling. Whichever realistic numbers you use, you will see that the death toll of the TSA is anything but negligible.

We can only hope that it's somehow worth it. If we go another 70 years without another "9-11-type" event, we may be able to make the argument that the TSA was as useful as nothing. Except for the costs, of course.

banyon
06-04-2006, 07:16 PM
Those 738 million hours lost are equivalent to the remaining lives of some 2,582 people! Each year, the TSA's one-hour delay, all by itself, kills the equivalent of over 80% of the 9-11 victims. Put another way, roughly every year and a half, the TSA "kills" more travelers than the four flights and all the ground victims of September 11, 2001

Wow, using this math logic, how many lives are lost due to traffic, or watching American Idol?

DanT
06-04-2006, 07:27 PM
Wow, using this math logic, how many lives are lost due to traffic, or watching American Idol?

Yeah, the logic is kinda bogus. If you're dead you can't listen to Carrie Underwood on the radio while you wait for the traffic to clear.

stevieray
06-04-2006, 07:41 PM
prepay for gas.

cdcox
06-04-2006, 09:01 PM
Wow, using this math logic, how many lives are lost due to traffic, or watching American Idol?

That is exactly the way I look at traffic. And much of the the delays could easily be prevented.

Saulbadguy
06-04-2006, 09:24 PM
Some of it is, some of it is not. I saw a 3 year old little boy get physically "stopped" by security because he was running through the terminal to say goodbye to his dad.

My dad manages property that is confiscated by the TSA. He gets to see tons of the crap that people try to bring on to airplanes - mostly pocket knives. There are also those little plastic toy guns. Not the realistic looking ones, but the ones that you equip your action figures with. No bigger than a couple inches. Why would they confiscate that?

It's just a bunch of reactive bullshit.

Logical
06-04-2006, 10:16 PM
prepay for gas.I admit I found this one funny.

SBK
06-05-2006, 12:41 AM
My grandma, who's a white lady in her mid seventies gets stopped everytime. She even had her boobs examined once. I do suppose most terrorists do fit her mold.

If they were serious about it, we all know who they would be looking for, and who they would pass on. However, the people they pass on are the ones they should be looking for, and the people they inspect shouldn't even get a second glance.